Vice President, Pat Burns; President, Jim Rodway; and Chief Financial Officer, Mark Auxier.
PATRICK LUMBER Is ‘Taking Care Of Business,’ The Traditional Way
By Wayne Miller
Portland, Ore.—Patrick Lumber Co., located here, is approaching a remarkable 100th anniversary, having been founded in 1915. The company’s Vice President Dave Halsey said he attributes years of the firm’s success to carefully held traditions.
“Business traditions are important. Integrity and making good transactions while taking care of our customers and watching out for our supplier sawmills at the same time—that culture has been handed down throughout the years here at Patrick Lumber Co.,” he said. The Company offers Hardwood lumber in Alder, Western Maple and Mahogany. Softwood species available include douglas fir, cedar, pine, and western hemlock.
In 1960 Jack Madden became the president of Patrick Lumber Co. and implemented a focus on the growing export market. The firm’s growth continued as Jack Patrick took the reigns as president in the late 1960’s providing natural resources to naval bases in the Vietnam War. Throughout the ‘70’s, Patrick Lumber continued to expand their export market by building business relationships in Italy, Greece and Australia.
Patrick Lumber Company’s sales team: Dave Menkens, Mike Foster, and Vice President, Dave Halsey (Not in phot Brad Mehl, John Quast, and Chris Re).
Founded by Charles Patrick and William Brushoff, Patrick Lumber Co. has been built on relationships according to Halsey. “In 1922 they helped form the Portland Wholesale Lumber Association (PWLA),” he explained. Madden joined Patrick in 1943. He built upon his close relationships, having previously been employed by the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau. Jack Patrick, one of the founder’s sons, worked alongside Madden and the two helped the rapid growth of America’s booming construction industry.
Patrick currently markets its products to distributors and manufacturers worldwide. Extra care is taken to ensure products arrive to their customers in the best possible condition. “We use a specialized custom-wrapping process to package and ship our products,” Halsey mentioned. “We also maintain very high grading standards for our production.” Current President of Patrick Lumber, Jim Rodway, explained reasons for the company’s continued success in both domestic and export markets. “We’ve maintained a presence in certain markets that we’ve served for a long time because we are committed to them. When their markets are bad, we continue to strive for success in those markets,” he said. “So when things get going again, we will be in a good position. We don’t jump in and out of markets based on activity levels. We stay with them, sink or swim.”
(Front Row) Chelsea Schureman, Martha Kessler, and Jessica Teasdale. (Back Row) Christy Biron, Michelle Small, Tricia McCauley, and Gaby White (Not in Phot Danny Song).
Vice President Pat Burns, who is also the grandson of Charles Patrick, one of the company’s founders, said the firm seeks diversity within each market. “It’s an asset for us to offer diversity; it creates buying opportunities that we would not have if we were strictly focusing on U.S. or export markets.”
When it comes to experience and knowledge of their markets, Burns said an important fact is that every shareholder of Patrick Lumber works at the company everyday. “You can not be a shareholder unless you’re an employee. Jim is in the export market everyday,” he said of the company’s president. “His intricate knowledge of each market helps us identify different opportunities and strengths.”
Including Halsey, Rodway and Burns, the firm’s sales team also consists of Dave Menkens, Mike Foster, Brad Mehl, John Quast and Chris Re. Mark Auxier is the company’s chief financial officer. Most members of the seasoned team have each chalked up more than 20 years experience in the lumber industry. Dave Menkens, who’s been with Patrick Lumber for the past seven years, has 20 plus years of experience. “Experience is hard to beat, especially when you’ve got people here that this is the only job they’ve had, working for this company,” he said referring to Jim Rodway and Pat Burns. “When you see the people that have been here their entire career, it shows they have a lot of belief in this company.”
Vice President of Sales Dave Halsey in Oregon next to load of Douglas Fir, cutting timbers up to 52’ long.
Menkens continued to emphasize that the philosophy at Patrick Lumber is part of what makes it work. “We look at things differently here. Our goal is to take care of the customer. We want to give them the best available product, whether it’s size, quality or a special request, we’re here for them,” he explained. “Essentially we work as a division of our customer’s business and as a division of our supplier too. Everything that we do as individuals benefits all of us in the future.”
Also with 20 years experience, Mike Foster offered, “We all have our own niches coming from diversified backgrounds. When we talk about what we do, we commonly use the word ‘synergy.’ It’s a phenomenal thing between us, where you have combined knowledge that is sometimes more functional than individual knowledge. Elaborating on what Dave said, our responsibility here is two-pronged—one is to service our customer base and the other is to service our supplier base. On the customer side we’re always trying to maintain the information flow as far as what’s going on and what we can be a part of. The other side of that is to be in touch with our sawmills, understanding what they need to move, what products they have specials on, etc. As wholesalers we have the ability to convert that information and bring them together. We fill that gap bringing value to both the sawmills and the customers. We have good long term relations with both by operating an honest business that is beneficial to all.”
High grade Cedar logs at one of Patrick Lumber’s partner mills on Vancouver Island, B.C.
“You establish a reputation over the years that stays with you. Our portion of success and our reputation is good,” Jim Rodway said. “This business is about relationships. That’s a big deal. I think our company’s biggest assets are the tenure of our employees. We have staff that has been here over 30 years, traders that have been here the same amount of time. That bodes well for our suppliers and our customers because they have confidence in our ability to perform and execute the transactions as we’ve laid them out. It’s all in the details.”
Patrick Lumber Co. is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), Portland Wholesale Lumber Association (PWLA) and the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA). For more information visit www.patlbr.com.
Patrick Lumber’s employees inspecting Western Red Cedar VG Clears outside of the kiln.
Laminated beams produced from Patrick Lumber Company being installed at the Chicago Zoo.
Patrick Lumber Company helps their local community and continues to donate wood products to organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, Portland Public Schools, Habitat for Humanity, and The Blanchet House. The Blanchet House Farm is shown here, where members of the organization are using Patrick’s donated lumber to build furniture.